Tank Background

The M15/42 was the last Italian medium tank produced during World War II. It was based on the earlier M13/40 and M14/41 medium tanks, being built from lessons learned during the North African Campaign although it did not actually fight there. Compared to its predecessors it had a much better engine and a gun with better anti-tank performance. It was in service from late 1942 until 1945, in small numbers. It was mostly used by the Wehrmacht.

The Regio Esercito (Italian Army) decided it needed an interim tank until the P26/40 heavy tank went into production. The versions on which it was based, while comparable to their Allied counterparts, had several serious problems that made them unsuitable for operation in the deserts of North Africa. In addition, its guns were not capable of piercing the thicker armor of the new British tanks being deployed in North Africa.

The m15/42 incorporated improvements learned from the battles in North Africa, such as a more powerful engine and air filters to cope with the harsh desert conditions. But the development of the gun and its projectiles meant that it could not enter production until 1 January 1943, by which time it was obsolete.

The crew consisted of four: A driver on the left side, a machine gunner/radio operator on the right. Behind, seated in the turret, the tank commander/gunner on the right and the loader on the left.

Four people were not enough, the tank commander had too many tasks to perform, giving orders, examining the battlefield, finding targets, aiming at them, firing...

In German service, the M15/42 fought mainly in Yugoslavia, with 85 tanks stationed there in December 1944.